Posts from the ‘novella’ Category

HUNTED OR HAUNTED?

Malaika

Written by Van Heerling

Malaika,pic

Interesting novella for teen and adult audiences. The author’s intention is to provoke discussion, and to that end, he provides discussion questions at the end of the almost one hundred page story.

The protagonist is an American who has left his wife and children to live a simple life in Kenya, just outside the jungle. He tutors Absko, the son of Abasi, for fresh tobacco and necessities. One day he is visited by a lioness. He names her Malaika, which means Angel in Swahili. They soon develop a strange friendship. Malaika’s pride do not seem to approve, nor do they attack. Abasi warns him that no good can come of this alliance; if the lioness comes near the village she will be killed. Will she be accepted by her pride and can the human feline relationship endure?

The story also illustrates the tender relationship of the American with Abasi, and his promise to help him achieve his dream of journeying to America with his wife and child. This tale probes the heart and soul of each of the characters and the fate of each as their roles play out.

Very well written with nicely developed characters and imagery. Paints an interesting portrait of African life along with a psychological study of the novella’s characters. Thoughtful and provoking; highly recommended as a classroom discussion topic or book club discussion group study. Recommended for ages twelve and older.

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ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: MAKING A DIFFICULT JOURNEY

The Boy Who Became Father Christmas: The Story of Santa Claus

Written by James Wilmot

BoySanta,pic

The Prologue gives a hint as to how the story line will evolve. In this short story, the reader learns that Niklas was born at the foot of a mountain range. He lived in town with the wealthy and prosperous settlers. Once a year the mountain folk came down to trade with them Their meat, cheese, animal skins and wool were exchanged for the coal, wax, grain and oil the mountain people needed to survive.

Shortly after Niklas turned twelve, tragedy struck. Both his parents were killed in a house fire. Niklas discovers a grandfather he never knew existed; now Niklas’ life would be turned upside down. He must leave town and go live up in the mountain with his grandfather. After a rough period of adjustment, Niklas becomes skilled in woodworking and learns the ways of the mountain people. He becomes acquainted with the “wee folk” legends and the animals of the forest. The teen develops a strong friendship with a girl named Rose. Niklas discovers the joys of the Christmas season and ventures forth to embrace it. As the boy grows, he experiences love and loss while meeting the challenges of mountain living and surviving a test with the King of the Mountain.

Wilmot selects many of the Christmas legends and weaves them into a novella featuring characters that embody familiar traditions. A heartwarming and uplifting short story that can be enjoyed by middle grade, young adult and adult readers. Perfect read for sitting in front of the fire for a couple of hours.

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DISASTER IN THE DISTANCE

Sweetly The Dragon Dreams

Written by David Farland

SweetlytheDragon,ic

Novella is a a combination of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and technology rolled into one. The humans have lived for more than 100,000 years under the subjugation of a superior alien species. As the story opens, a young human girl named Tallori is gathering damselflies as an offering for the goddess known as the Holy Mistress. Humans must bring these offerings to the palace where the resplendent being resides with her skraals. When Tallori finds a dragon’s skull, she alerts her drunken father, Angar who gossips about his good fortune. Meantime Anduval who is gifted with four brains and favored by the holy maiden, is ordered to retrieve the dragon’s head. Angar has already split it with an axe; the magical lights from it arise, and Anduval catches and is blinded by one of them. The Holy Mistress realizes than an attack by the enemy is imminent and the entire kingdom is put to work to build a worldship on which to escape. The Holy Mistress urges Anduval to bring Tallori to the palace; he treats her as his sister, but Tallori falls in love with him. As the Holy Mistress prepares to give birth to her chrysalis, the kingdom struggles to put their escape plan into effect.

The plot is amazingly well developed considering the length of the tale; readers get a good taste of the characters. At the end of the story, I wanted still wanted more. Though this type of story is not my preferred genre, I felt compelled to read it cover to cover in one sitting. There are some veiled sexual references, but nothing objectionable for teen readers. Recommended for sci-fi, tech geeks, and even fans of romance.

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TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Face-Off

Written by Stacy Drumtra-Juba

Face-off,pic

Fast moving young adult novella centering around the issues of sibling rivalry, family relationships, the sport of hockey, coming of age, and divorce. The McKendrick Family is undergoing a crisis. Parents are constantly fighting and are on the verge of divorce. A.J. McKendrick is an out of work architect struggling to make ends meet, placing additional strain on the marriage. High school juniors and fraternal twins, Brad and T.J., strive to shine in hockey, but T.J. has the better grades. Dad places unrealistic expectations on T.J. When finances force the parents to remove T.J. from private school, the brothers are faced with a new situation for rivalry; how to play together on the same hockey team. Their younger brother Chris gets into fights in school and attempts to run away. All this emotional stress plays havoc on the lives of the family, their school, and their friends. In addition, there are the coming of age issues related to romance and future career plans.

The short tale offers a lot to young teen readers. It is packed with action, emotional tension, details about the sport of hockey, and well-defined characters facing issues with which the reader may empathize. This book would be a good choice for a reluctant reader as the tone is conversational and smooth flowing. Juba immediately draws you in and holds your attention. Highly recommended for teens, particularly boys who love sports.

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KING OF FIFTH GRADE

Myth Catchers: Book 1 Dad’s Pants

Written by Alan Riehl

MythCatchers

This short book of less than sixty pages is the first in a series exploring the trials and tribulations of a ten year old boy named Curtis Armstrong. Curtis misses his father so much that he desperately hangs on to the one thing remaining to remind him of his dad, a pair of worn jeans. To make matters worse, his divorced mother works long hours and his older sister has a roomful of unicorns that he hates. To make matters worse, Christy loves to use her imagination and is considered “Miss Popularity” at school.

But now Curtis has an opportunity to start fresh with a move to Myth, New Mexico. He is determined to be the king of his new fifth grade class. Of course that dream does not materialize. On the first day he gets into trouble with the principal when he breaks her picture frame decorated with unicorns, his most despised symbol. A new threat appears in the form of the school’s most popular and clever student, Darla.

Curtis cannot understand what is happening to him as his usually logical and stable personality becomes overwhelmed with strange dreams and incidents that he cannot distinguish as real or imagined. Lots of twists and turns in the plot as Curtis struggles to figure out what is really going on, and how his father’s pants are suddenly the vehicle to catch some very scary things.

This first book does contain a few editing errors, but is filled with the kind of humor and absurdities that tweens love in their fiction. Short length makes the book a good choice for a reluctant reader. I must say that I was disappointed in the abrupt ending which left more questions than answers. No doubt that many readers will be waiting to see Book 2 in the hopes that their curiosity will be satisfied.

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THREE’S COMPANY

A Silent Yes: A Novella (A Quiet Life Book 1)

Written by Charlotte Thorpe

Asilentyes,picShort novella of approximately fifty pages that portrays the gentle tale of two orphaned brothers living in Kansas circa 1884. Matthias and his younger brother Justus live a quiet life on their farm. One day Silas Mitchell and his wife drive up in a wagon with a strange request. They have a sick cattle drive cook that they want to drop on their doorstep. They can’t keep her on the drive and have no one to care for her. These two brothers go in the house to discuss the situation when Silas takes off in a hurry. After a few days, the woman named Grace recovers. The brothers stay in the barn to avoid impropriety and treat her with respect. She asks to stay and volunteers her services as a cook, seamstress and housekeeper.

Matthias and Justus quickly acclimate to the new situation enjoying a lifestyle lost to them since their mother died twelve years before. Soon both the boys are attracted to Grace. They learn that Grace has no real family and no one to rely on for help. Will Grace find the courage to marry one of them or will she resign herself to disappear and go back to a life of poverty? Can the two brothers sort out their individual feelings toward their new resident? When the preacher arrives for a visit, they both know the time has come for a decision.

This is a sweet tale with no profanity or sex that alludes back to a simpler time. Kind of a cross between a piece of historical fiction and romance. The book is appropriate for readers age twelve and up. Characters are amazingly well-developed in the simple plot line. Nice well-written feel good kind of book for a lazy afternoon read.

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JOSTLING FOR POWER

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!

The Adventures of Link: The Beginning Stage 1

Written by Cain Silverfish

AdventuresofLink,pic

This short fantasy novella describes the land of Josling, which at one time, was occupied by over 20 races that interbred and competed with each other. Hundreds of years of warfare ensued as each of the Lords attempted to unify it under their power. Eventually four main races remained: the TriBunes, Elves, Dwarves and Humans. The Humans tried to remain peaceful as they were the fewest in number.

One of the TriBunes, Professor Wei, is a respected history professor who is teaching about the Battle of Stone Mountain, which released the TriBunes from the slavery of the Dwarves. Through Holographic inserts, he paints the dramatic battle for his students of mixed races. On his way home, Professor Wei meets his old war rival, Karth Toebashar, who is clearly drunk. Out of nowhere a human appears who pleads for their help. Professor Wei invites both of them to his home. A knock at the door reveals unexpected visitors searching for “the human.” Who are they? Will Professor Wei and Toebashar reveal the identity of the secret visitor? The ending sets up for Stage 2. Silverfish entices the reader by offering this book free if you leave your email address with a review of the first book.

The first book offers a bit of history and sci-fi with the fantasy series. It is appropriate for tweens, teens and adults. Link promises to be an interesting character.

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